Both of us had taken our parent’s cars for joyrides a handful of times before we were old enough to drive. We helped each other to roll our “rides” down the driveways into the street late at night while our parents were sleeping before starting the engines. It was your 17th birthday.

Your present was your license returned to you by your parents. They allowed you to take the driver’s test when you turned 16 but they had kept your license from you for a whole year. You drove around the block to my house after your folks said you could go buy French fries, but they insisted you had “to come straight home.” I asked if they said where you had to go to buy the fries?

Our senior year, your girlfriend knocked up, you got married & dropped out of school. I joined the Air Force after graduation to avoid being issued a rifle & sent to Vietnam. Your ditzy wife killed a grazing horse in a field & totaled your car, swerving to avoid a collision with a butterfly. We drove straight home to Phoenix after buying McDonald’s fries near the Strip. Your folks had cancelled the stolen car report after you called from LA, they were pleased we had replaced the thermostat in Blythe.

Funny how, 15 years later, you had done time for bank robbery & I had served time for smuggling marijuana. Funny, but neither of us were laughing. You later died of lung cancer & I have COPD. We stole cigarettes & beer from our parents in junior high school & we met in the alley to grow up.

Image credit:a befendo

I have one book of poetry published in Tucson by Moon Pony Press in 2009 titled, The Certainty of Looking Elsewhere. My poetry has been published in numerous small presses including: Dark Horse, Gargoyle, 6ix, Tor House Newsletter, The Moth.